Nanoparticles and their Applications
Nanoparticles are incredibly small, having one dimension that measures 100 nanometers or
less, it would take eight hundred 100 nanometer particles side by side to match the width of a human hair. The properties of many conventional materials change
when formed from nanoparticles. This is typically because nanoparticles have a greater surface area per weight than larger particles which causes them
to be more reactive to some other molecules.
Nanoparticles are used, or being evaluated for use, in many fields. The list
below introduces several of the uses under development.
Nanoparticle Applications in Medicine
Researchers at Tel Aviv University
are developing a vaccine for melanoma based using polymer nanoparticles to which melanoma related peptides have been attached.
Researchers are reporting results from a clincal
study using use of
heated by near-infrared laser to destroy tumors
in prostate cancer patients.
Researchers at MIT are developing nanoparticles
designed to pass through the
brain barrier and target tumors of a type of brain
cancer called glioblastoma, delivering two chemothreapy
drugs to the tumor.
The use of
coated iron oxide nanoparticles to break up clusters
of bacteria, possibly allowing more effective treatment
of chronic bacterial infections.
The surface change of
protein filled nanoparticles has been shown to affect the ability of
the nanoparticle to stimulate immune responses. Researchers are thinking
that these nanoparticles may be used in inhalable vaccines.
Researchers at Rice University have demonstrated that cerium oxide nanoparticles
act as an antioxidant to remove oxygen free radicals that are
present in a patient's bloodstream following a traumatic injury. The
nanoparticles absorb the oxygen free radicals and then release the
oxygen in a less dangerous state, freeing up the nanoparticle to absorb
more free radicals.
Researchers are developing ways to use carbon nanoparticles called
nanodiamonds in medical applications. For example
nanodiamonds with protein
molecules attached can be used to increase bone growth around
dental or joint implants.
More about Nanotechnology in Medicine
Nanoparticle Applications and the Environment
Researchers are using photocatalytic copper tungsten oxide
break down oil into biodegradable compounds. The nanoparticles are
in a grid that provides high surface area for the reaction, is activated
by sunlight and can work in water, making them useful for cleaning up
Researchers are using gold nanoparticles embedded in a porous manganese oxide
as a room temperature catalyst to breakdown volatile organic pollutants
are being used to clean up carbon tetrachloride pollution in ground water.
nanoparticles are being used to clean arsenic from water wells.
Applications in the Environment.
Nanoparticle Applications in Energy and Electronics
Researchers have used nanoparticles called nanotetrapods studded with nanoparticles of carbon to develop
cost electrodes for fuel cells. This electrode may
be able to replace the expensive platinum needed for
fuel cell catalysts.
Researchers at Georgia Tech, the University of Tokyo and Microsoft
Research have developed a method to print prototype circuit boards using
standard inkjet printers.
nanoparticle ink was used to form the conductive lines needed in
Combining gold nanoparticles with organic molecules creates a
transistor known as a NOMFET (Nanoparticle Organic Memory Field-Effect Transistor).
This transistor is unusual in that it can function in
a way similar to synapses in the nervous system.
catalyst using platinum-cobalt nanoparticles is being developed for
fuel cells that produces twelve times more catalytic activity than pure
platinum. In order to achieve this performance, researchers anneal nanoparticles
to form them into a crystalline lattice, reducing the spacing between
platinum atoms on the surface and increasing their reactivity.
Researchers have demonstrated
that sunlight, concentrated on nanoparticles, can
produce steam with high energy efficiency. The "solar
steam device" is intended to be used in areas of
developing countries without electricity for
applications such as purifying water or disinfecting
A lead free solder reliable enough for space missions and
other high stress environments using
Nanotechnology in Energy